uOttawa physicist is third Canadian ever to win prestigious international science prize

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

OTTAWA, January 30, 2013 — University of Ottawa professor and National Research Council (NRC) scientist Paul Corkum joins the elite ranks of three Canadians to win the King Faisal International Prize for Science, one of the world’s most prestigious awards, for his ground-breaking development of attosecond imaging.

 “The University congratulates Professor Paul Corkum on joining such an elite list of researchers. His commitment to research and creativity are inspiring to the whole community and we are proud that such an eminent scientist calls the University of Ottawa home,” said Mona Nemer, vice-president, research.

Winners of the King Faisal International Prize receive a commemorative 24-carat, 200-gram gold medallion and a cash endowment of $200,000, one of the Arab world’s most generous awards. They join a group of over 200 distinguished scholars and scientists from around the world.

For more than 30 years, Professor Corkum has been pushing the frontiers of knowledge on how light and matter interact. He won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, and holds the NRC-Canada Research Chair in Attosecond Photonics. His world-renowned research has been recognized for developing a new theoretical approach to shortening the duration of light pulses produced by lasers. His international reputation was secured when he became the first to successfully produce a 650 attosecond pulse. One attosecond is 10-18 seconds, or one billionth of one billionth of a second.

Attosecond pulses enable scientists to see chemical reactions as they occur by capturing the incredibly fast motion of electrons in atoms and molecules in a "movie" whose time resolution can be measured in attoseconds. This pioneering research does more than open a new door to studying matter—it offers a new way to control matter on a molecular scale. In the burgeoning world of nanotechnology, the possibilities are endless.

Corkum's research at the world-class University of Ottawa/National Research Council Joint Attosecond Science Laboratory is attracting talented doctoral and postdoctoral students from Canada, Europe, the United States, Japan and Israel.

The University of Ottawa is committed to research excellence and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, which attracts the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world. The University plays an important role in the economic development of the National Capital Region.


Néomie Duval
Media Relations Officer
University of Ottawa
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 2981
Cell: 613-863-7221

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